What could be more exciting than a career in air and space travel? Are you someone who dreams of the future? Do you have both the vision and the mind for streamlining high-tech transportation systems? It sounds like you’re ready to take on one of the best Master’s in Aeronautics and Aviation in the nation.
What kind of Master’s in Aeronautics/Aviation should you get?
First thing’s first: these are the five most respected aeronautics programs in the United States. You’re lining up for a chance to be the best in your field. Since this degree covers a lot of ground, you can expect to find a variance in the degrees offered. Some are in Aviation Management; others are in Aerospace Engineering. You really can’t go wrong with either.
You might also notice that a number of these programs offer focus areas within the degree. This is a great way to deepen your knowledge in one particular area. Some of your options include Aerospace Education Technology, Air Traffic Management, Aviation Operations, Aerospace Safety Systems, Human Factors, Space Studies, Unmanned Aerospace Systems, and more!
If you’re looking for a similar graduate program, but want to prioritize your budget above all, take a look at our ranking of the Most Affordable Online Graduate Colleges.
How much money do people make with a Master’s in Aeronautics/Aviation?
As it turns out, jobs in this field are well-rewarded when it comes to a paycheck. If your end goal is to become an aerospace engineer, you’re looking at an annual salary of around 113,000. If you’re more interested in the larger scope of air travel, you can become an air traffic controller and make around 124,000 per year. Not too shabby, right?
Salaries among commercial pilots and air traffic controllers are high, with median pay in 2018 of more than $100,000 for both positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects slow growth in aeronautics and aviation work, however, with both air traffic controllers and pilots seeing growth of less than 5% through 2026.
What can you do with a Master’s in Aeronautics/Aviation?
Earning a Master’s in Aeronautics/Aviation gives you access to more than just the skies above us. You’ll be equipped with the skills to shape our future. There are careers waiting for you in all sorts of areas within this sector. You can apply your education to manufacturing, engineering, safety, public education, management, and more.
The most popular application for this degree is in Aeronautical Engineering. With this degree under your belt, you can work on NASA shuttles, Tesla vehicles, regional transportation systems, and more. Degree programs in aeronautics and aviation broaden one’s understanding of all elements of the field. These degrees can help you in multiple jobs.
What are the requirements for a Master’s in Aeronautics/Aviation?
These degree programs are some of the best and most respected aeronautics programs in the nation. You’re going to have to work hard to get into these programs. Make sure to have a bachelor’s degree (and a decent GPA) in a field that is related to engineering or science. You’ll also need to take the GRE. Work especially hard on the quantitative sections.
A master’s degree in aeronautics or aviation generally requires about two years’ worth of coursework, or between 30 and 45 credit hours of study. Some programs require students to complete a capstone project or thesis which explores some element of the field in greater detail. Some may offer specializations in topics like operations or safety systems.
What are the best Master’s in Aeronautics/Aviation?
These rankings weigh multiple factors when looking for the best degrees. While the cost and subsequent early-career salary of graduates plays a role, metrics like student satisfaction, graduation rate, and retention rate also go into the final calculation. All data used comes from U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, PayScale.com, and university websites.
See our rankings methodology page.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $11,693
Purdue University hits it out of the park with its MS in Aviation and Aerospace Management program. Not only is it the best in the nation, but also the most affordable program on our list. Purdue University was established in 1869 as a leading land-grant research institution in Indiana. Today it offers close to 300 quality degree programs.
With this MS in Aviation and Aerospace Management you’ll tackle top management roles like systems integration, operational analysis, and more. Your curriculum will center around 30 credits (or 10 to 11 classes) of upper-level coursework. The degree culminates in a capstone research project. Along the way you’ll take classes such as:
- Aviation Leadership
- International Civil Aviation Regulatory Systems
- Aviation Fuels and Emissions
- Process Improvement and Simulation
Purdue University sets you up for success before and after this degree program. If you’re looking to fast-track your bachelor’s and master’s degree, you can take part in the combined BS-MS program. Or the Purdue School of Aviation and Transportation Technology also offers a PhD in Technology if you want to continue your studies.
The Ohio State University
College Choice Score: 94.13
Average Net Price: $17,971
Founded as a land-grant university, The Ohio State University is a public institution in Columbus, Ohio. The university also operates branch campuses in five other locations throughout the state. OSU consistently ranks high among other public schools. In fact, this year U.S. News & World Report listed it at #16 in the nation.
The Ohio State University offers a Master’s in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. You can choose either a thesis-track plan or a non-thesis track. Either way, this degree will give you more than enough resources to do graduate-level research in the field. Your roughly 30 credit-hours in this degree will be divided into the following areas:
- 18 credits in Core courses
- 12 credits in Aeronautical courses
- 3 credits in a final seminar course
At The Ohio State University, you’ll have premier access to some of the best research equipment in the nation. Students work side-by-side with faculty in the Aeronautical and Astronautical Research Laboratories to conduct research. Some current projects include compressible turbulence, gas turbine engine aeromechanics, and more.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide
College Choice Score: 89.58
Average Net Price: $19,002
As an institution, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University is as close to an expert in aeronautics as you’re going to get. Founded in 1926, Embry Riddle began as a regional school for pilots. It has grown into a large university that offers everything from engineering to business to cyber security. It maintains campuses in Florida, Arizona, and abroad.
The MS in Aeronautics at Embry Riddle helps you bring a career into focus. This degree is offered at all three campuses. You’ll undergo 33 credit-hours in total. A little over half is designated to your foundational curriculum. The next half gives you the chance to specialize. Here’s a sneak peek into some core classes:
- Statistical Analysis for Aviation/Aerospace
- The Air Transportation System
- Aircraft Design and Development
- Application of Unmanned Systems
This program features an impressive ten specializations. You can choose from the following areas: Air Traffic Management, Aviation/Aerospace Education Technology, Aviation/Aerospace Operations, Aviation/Aerospace Safety Systems, Human Factors, Aeronautics, Space Studies, Unmanned Aerospace Systems, and more.
San Jose State University
College Choice Score: 88.15
Average Net Price: $13,777
Known as the oldest public university on the west coast, San Jose State University was established in 1857. Because of its location, the school is known to be a top feeder for jobs in the Silicon Valley. Last year, over 33,400 students were enrolled in San Jose State University’s roughly 150 programs.
San Jose State University offers an MS in Aerospace Engineering that prepares you for research, testing, operations, and development in the field. The master’s degree requires 30 credit-hours in total. Your culminating experience will be the option of a thesis or a capstone project. Your first semester course load might look like this:
- Advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics
- Orbital Mechanics and Mission Design
- Advanced Astrodynamics
- Spacecraft Dynamics and Control
Aside from the amazing coursework you’ll take for the general requirements, San Jose State University also includes two focus areas. You can concentrate in Aircraft Design or Space Transportation & Exploration. Each focus area includes six credit-hours devoted to a relevant course.
Western Michigan University
College Choice Score: 83.01
Average Net Price: $15,489
Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University, a public research university. The school maintains an impressively large campus, spanning five different locations in the city. Western Michigan University is also known to have one of the top aviation programs in the nation.
Western Michigan University pulls out all the stops for the Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering. You not only will undertake rigorous and specialized classes, you’ll also have the chance to hone your skills to a particular subset of the field. You also have the choice between a thesis or non-thesis degree. Here’s a look at some classes:
- Atmospheric Flight Dynamics and Control
- Finite Element Method
- Design Optimization
- Advanced Fluid Dynamics
Your choice in a wide selection of concentrations makes the program at Western Michigan University shine. You can choose from the following: Aerospace Structure and Materials, Aerodynamics and Propulsion, Flight Dynamics and Control, Emerging Aerospace, and more.